Melissa Emery, Family Court candidate - Seat Five

In the first few weeks of this year's legislative session, this race to fill a number of state judicial seats will be at the top of the agenda of our state’s legislators. 

We at the Blogland believe our state’s judicial selection process is too hidden from the public eye, and that a little transparency is long overdue. To help shed a little light on this somewhat-shadowy process for the benefit of our readers, we ask those seeking upcoming judicial seats to answer a few questions - and appreciate those who respond.

Melissa Emery, a Pee Dee native and an attorney from Myrtle Beach, is seeking the Seat Five At-Large Family Court seat. The first in her family to get through college, she’s a proud Francis Marion alum who is nearing her tenth year as a member of its board. A graduate of USC Law School, Ms. Emery has been practicing law for eighteen years, with much of her practice time spent in family law.

Now, we’d like for our readers to meet Ms. Emery:

Q - Tell us about your legal experience:

I have practiced in Family Court since 1995. I handle divorce, custody, adoptions, and name changes. I serve as a GAL for minor children in contested custody cases and adoptions. I have also handled DSS cases as party counsel and a GAL. I am a certified mediator for Family Court and have been so for the past eight years. I was one of just 5 or 6 attorneys in Horry County certified to mediate. For approximately thirteen years I have organized and/or presented at legal seminars in Family Law.

Q - Having been through two divorces, we know there’s a lot of money to be made doing what you’re doing. Why give it up to sit on the bench?

Family Court is an area that you either like or you don't. Those who don't like it but do it anyway for the money are easy to spot. I am adamant that those attorneys who practice in Family Court do their best to do it well.

I am very passionate about Family Law, and I think that passion will translate to the Bench if I am elected. It is an honor to be considered, but a very tough process to be sure. There are many great candidates vying for these new seats, and it is a privilege to be considered among them.

Q - A lot of judicial candidates who end up on Family Court work their way over to other courts, which robs these courts of potentially-knowledgeable judges. Should you win this judicial seat, do you see this as a stepping stone to other roles?

I do not see the Family Court Bench as a stepping stone to another judgeship. I have no intentions of going any further in the judicial hierarchy.

Q - Since you were the first in your family to get through college, odds are you weren’t born with the same silver spoon that a lot of attorneys and judges were. Your first job was … ?

My first job was in the Hot Dog Stand at South of the Border. I cannot believe the signs may soon be a thing of the past!!

Q - Of course, here in the Blogland, we’re all about great rock and roll. What’s your favorite band or album?

I listen to all kinds of music ranging from rock to contemporary gospel. I listen to Billy Joel (old stuff) when I am melancholy, and beach music when I am happy. There is nothing like a sunny day, a sandy beach and Chairman of the Board!! This is one of the reasons I ended up living in Myrtle Beach…that and a job offer.

22 Response to "Melissa Emery, Family Court candidate - Seat Five"

  1. Anonymous 17/12/07 22:03
    Ms. Emery is a top-notch Family Court attorney and Family Court mediator who is well-respected, not only by the attorneys and judges of the 15th Judicial Circuit, but by attorneys and judges statewide. She gets along well with others and people in the community like her. It seems she is always volunteering for one thing or another in the Myrtle Beach area... working with the high school mock trial program, setting up seminars for other lawyers, going on a mission trip to remote areas of Africa, etc. She is not only smart, but also ethical and well-liked, and you don't find that combination very often!
  2. harris county texas moye 18/12/07 00:24
    Heard she was an ok person
  3. Pumpernickel 18/12/07 03:08
    Very passionate about what she does, and she would make an outstanding Family Court judge.

    It sure beats the usual candidates who are elected to these, hoping to move up to other judicial slots.

    I hope those legislators reading this see that she's well worth their support.
  4. Anonymous 18/12/07 07:09
    Ms. Emery is one of the hardest working attorneys I know. She is caring, compassionate, and dedicated. She has the temperment to make an excellent judge...Best wishes in your race!
  5. Anonymous 18/12/07 10:27
    Ms. Emery needs to give it up! The fix is in. Her competitor was found not be qualified by the SC Bar, yet the screening committee found her qualified and nominated? How is that possible? Ms. Emery is an excellent attorney with high ethical standards...What a shame the legislators don't vote on THOSE qualities...
  6. Anonymous 18/12/07 11:51
    Ms. Emery is an inspiration to every other lawyer that practices in family court. She leaves the animosity behind, yet can advocate for her client while remaining friendly with other attorneys, and she has gained the respect of the bench. It would be a REAL shame for her NOT to be a family court judge. The families in this state would benefit greatly from Ms. Emery being on the bench.
  7. Anonymous 18/12/07 13:45
    Melissa Emery would be an excellent judge and an asset to the bench. She is well respected among her peers and has high ethical standards. If the legislature really wants intelligent and ethical judges, Melissa is the logical choice in this race.
  8. Anonymous 18/12/07 20:32
    First in her family to finish college, ethical, well-liked, volunteering...Sounds like a great woman who will bring much to the Bench...
  9. Anonymous 18/12/07 20:52
    Francis Marion must be cranking out some very great students...You getting paid by the university?
  10. Anonymous 18/12/07 21:00
    Earl,
    Why would anyone WANT to be a family court judge? My hat off to her. She seems to be well qualified for the position. Best of luck to her...
  11. Dr. Duncan 18/12/07 21:27
    I have known Lisa since elementary school and I am proud of all that she has accomplished. She has remained down to earth and really cares about the lives of people. As her rowdy friend growing up, she kept me out of trouble and was always steering me down the right path. She has always had high moral values and is a woman of integrity. She sets a good example for me and others to follow. She is compassionate about her job because she cares people. And she is smart and witty to boot. I have never known anyone more outgoing and funny than Lisa. She is an inspiration!
  12. Anonymous 19/12/07 10:51
    I have known Ms. Emery since she first started practicing family law at the beach, and it was evident even then that she had both passion and compassion for the people she represented and law. Ms. Emery would make and AMAZING addition to the bench!
  13. KJ 19/12/07 11:06
    Ms. Emery is one of the best persons I know. She will rule the bench with integrity, compassion and a thorough understanding and practice of the law.
  14. KathyCox 20/12/07 11:06
    Ms. Emery has functioned as a top-notch family court attorney for over ten years. Her ethics and professionalism are beyond reproach, as is her practice. On a personal level, she has always been well liked by those around her. She is quick to lend a hand whether it is a friend/family member in need or through her volunteer work in Africa. A disservice would be done to the state if she were not given the opportunity to sit on the bench.
  15. Anonymous 21/12/07 09:55
    I have known Melissa Emery for quite a while and I can tell you, you will not find a person more suited for the position that lies ahead of her. Her passion for what she does as an lawyer and hopefully a family court judge goes way beyond the call of duty. As for a particular comment I read before making this comment of my own, I can only say that no matter how somebody arrives at the train station they all have to have a ticket to get on.......It's up to god who really decides who does and who does not get on that train. We that know her will stand behind her and wish her all the best. Earl, I don't know you but what you are doing is a good thing, keep up the good work.
  16. Anonymous 26/12/07 21:48
    I have known Ms Emery for many years and have no doubt she is the most qualified of the candidates. It would truly be ashame if a candidate that the bar found unqualified were to win this election. After the bar exam fiasco, this would be another black eye for the South Carolina legal community
  17. Anonymous 27/12/07 02:42
    It takes a compasionate and fair person to be a family court attoney. Ms Emery certainly seems to possess those qualities. Good luck in your future endeavors.
  18. Mike Forte 27/12/07 03:11
    In reading these comments and knowing her from her years of contributions to the Pee Dee region in the legal, academic and religious communities, it's hard to find much to say that others haven't already said.

    This is one fine lady whose ability, character and heart qualify her for this opportunity.

    And yes, Earl, you should take her to dinner or a concert sometime.
  19. Anonymous 28/12/07 11:28
    I have known Lisa for several years. I practice family court law and I have seen Lisa first hand as a litigator, guardian ad litem, and mediator. She is diligent, honest, and compassioante in whatever capacity she serves. These are the qualtities that should be condisdered in selecting a judge.
  20. gankj 1/1/08 12:35
    As an educator, I see many instances where children get the raw end of the deal in our courts .... I have known Ms. Emery for her entire life...I know that she is a person of integrity who cares about children...always thinking of the welfare of the child above the adults involved... this is what is needed most in our system. I believe that she would be an exemplary Family Court Judge.
  21. marygirl143 1/1/08 12:48
    I am a junior at Francis Marion University, and Ms. Emery has been an inspiring role model for me. As a member of the Board of Trustees she has never failed to offer help and advice to me when I needed it. As a professional who has worked her way through college and law school and has been a successful lawyer for all these years, she has become one of the people that I admire most, and I aspire to be as compassionate and proficient as she is. I believe that she would be a fantastic Family Court Judge...I hope she wins!!
  22. Anonymous 9/1/08 16:26
    How refreshing to find an attorney who is willing to give up a lucrative and highly successful private practice to become a judge. Ms. Emery's heart is in the right place and this state would benefit from her values and insight. Here's hoping the lawmakers reward her with an opportunity to make a difference.

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